Daily Devotion for September 25, 2010
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Frances R. Havergal
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold:
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Ev'ry pow'r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself, and I will be,
Ever, only, all for Thee.
Prayer to Live with Jesus
Dearest Jesus, work another miracle, a prodigy of grace. Make my soul a beautiful, living Tabernacle where You will ever dwell. Let me never leave You alone, but remind me to return hundreds of times in the day and have a word with You.
Prayer to Love Others Today
Oh holy Christ, who has commanded us to love others as ourselves, and not to judge others, but to look to our own sins rather than criticizing our fellow man; I pray you to keep your words in my heart when others offend me, for they may fly from my mind when I am gripped by emotion. Many times I judge, many times I feel anger at others, many times I look down upon someone. And even when I show a smile, my heart may yet be filled with sin, anger and malice and jealousy.
I pray to you, mighty Christ, burn your love on my heart. Let me never forget the beauty and peace of loving my fellow man. Help me be sincere in choosing good over evil. Let me seek my glory in you, Lord Christ, instead of in my own image. Soften my heart so that I feel true sympathy, and so I value others just as I do myself.
May your Holy Spirit, who is with me, guide me in everything I think and do, this day and always.
[Using prayer to overcome un-Christian emotions.]
Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you”; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESV)
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 (DP)
19-21 You must test everything against the Gospel, but if it passes the test, do not discourage the Spirit or disdain prophecy. Hold fast to the good. Abstain from evil in every form.
19 The spirit do not quench [p]Or hinder. ,
20 prophecy do not disdain [q]Possibly reject, reject disdainfully. ;
21 but everything test, . . .
Notes on the Scripture
Paul tells the Thessalonian church — and us — to test everything against the Gospel. Although “everything” indicates a broad application, and the teaching may be extended to many areas of life, he specifically intends that they examine the truth of prophesy and utterances of the Spirit. His concern was false doctrine. Then, now, and for the entire history of Christianity, there have been teachers who make false statements about God and Christ. This passage tells us how to separate those we should believe from those we should reject: test it against the Gospel, i.e., the New Testament.
he passage from Ephesians, written later in his career, speaks directly to how we should examine and weigh judge statements of Christian doctrine: teachers, sermons, Bible commentary, books, radio and t.v. evangelism, etc. (Not to mention, Scriptural Notes on Daily Prayer!) In Ephesians 4:13-14, Paul shows the difference between a “mature” Christian, who knows what the Bible says and sticks to it, and a spiritual child, whose understanding and faith is subject to constant change based on two factors: First, events in one's life, and second, what one might hear or read, that makes any sort of claim about Christianity. And this second part includes the thoughts and opinions that one holds in one's own mind, for often the worst enemy of our faith is a belief that we cherish.
I constantly have communication, in person and by email, with people who will argue an idea that they have in their head is correct, no matter how many Bible passages I cite to them to the contrary and no matter how clear those passages are. People simply do not want to hear what they don't want to believe. The growing Christian will hear them and conform himself to God; those whose faith is dead will conform the Bible to say what they want it to say, or even say, “I don't agree.” It is symptomatic of a society in which one's self-fulfillment is considered the paramount goal, that people believe their opinion matters. God is not impressed by our opinions.
Nobody gets the Bible perfectly correct; there is no person who is fully transparent to God's Word. Christ Himself taught us this: “Do not be called ‘teacher’, for you are brothers and you have only one teacher.” (Matthew 23:8)
When Paul tells us to test everything against the Gospel, we must take it to mean that if a statement about Christianity cannot be found from a fair and clear reading in the Bible, we must reject it. And whatever is taken from a fair and clear reading of the Bible we must accept. To reject the Bible is to reject Christ; and, using Paul's exact word — which is identical in English and Greek — both the statement and the person stating it are “anathema.” Cursed. This is one step from saying “damned to hell,” but does not foreclose the possibility of repentance and forgiveness. And it you doubt this is true — test it against the Scripture!
A Christian must read and know the Bible, in depth; otherwise, every time we hear something, we are forced to scramble through page after page trying to find statements pro and con something we have heard, or read, or thought. It is a very long and rather dense book, even if one only considers the New Testament. But a Christian who does not learn the Bible — a constant and ongoing process — is at the mercy of other peoples' opinions.